It is now fairly well documented that the “defund the police” movement has been a disaster for American citizens. Even in areas that have not cut police funding, the general impression created by the movement has had a ripple effect. The police retired or were fired, leaving many cities understaffed. Criminals felt emboldened and crime increased.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed cutting $80 million from the 2021 police budget. She then had to backtrack and increase the budget approximately $200 million to combat the city’s growing crime problem. However, with the money back in the officers’ budget, few were interested in working for a city that offered them lukewarm support.
According to Sun-Times, the Chicago Police Department had about 13,000 sworn officers at the start of 2021. That number is now 11,900, down 8.5% year-over-year. “More than 175 other officers resigned last year without receiving full retirement benefits or transferred to other police departments,” the newspaper reported.
With crime skyrocketing in many areas of the city, some Chicago neighborhoods are looking to hire private security companies to protect their homes and citizens, according to the the wall street journal. North Side neighborhoods include Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Bucktown. The Journal noted that crime in Bucktown rose 30% in the first quarter of this year.
However, this will only be a band-aid to a much larger problem. These security guards will not be able to make arrests. They will drive around neighborhoods in security vehicles, and although they are armed, they should use their phones to call 911 and take pictures of the crime. It doesn’t look like they’ll be much more than a busy neighborhood watch. They won’t be able to do much more than call for help. Victims of crime will always be waiting for an understaffed police force. However, if the case goes to court, they might be able to present photographic evidence of the crime.
This is not the first time that private citizens have turned to private security to take over where their local police forces are lacking. When a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed in Atlanta, people started considering private security.
Member of the Atlanta City Council Howard shook said in 2020 that it was “obvious that civil authorities do not control the streets and cannot even provide a token sense of security beyond our front doors”.
The Atlanta Police Department said BNC News that homicides in the city had increased rapidly.
“At the end of the 52 week reporting period, we are at 154 homicides compared to 99 for the same period of 2019,” Atlanta Police Officer Steve Avery said. “That’s a 61% increase.”
While in Chicago private citizens hire security, in Atlanta those who wanted to hire private security included a member of the city council. JP Matzigkeit wanted the private security force to work in conjunction with the police. He attributed the rising number of crimes in the city to the mayor’s support for the “defund” movement.
Two council members ended up allocating $125,000 of their city funds to a private police force in the Buckhead community of Atlanta.
Liberal knee-jerk reactions not only created a weakened police force in many cities, but they also endangered the citizens of those cities. In particular, they have placed residents of communities who cannot afford to pay for private security in a vulnerable position, and it is citizens who are often most in need of protection, whether from the police or private security. Meanwhile, many of the police’s most vocal critics enjoy the protection of their own personal safety, such as Lightfoot’s personal police protection.
We need to support the police and make sure they have the resources to do the job we want them to do.
Michael A. Letts is CEO and Founder of In-VestUSAa national non-profit organization that helps communities provide body armor to police forces through educational programs, public relations, sponsorship and fundraising.
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